The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

February 8, 2014

Old refinery hazard permit is up for review

ENID, Okla. — A public meeting is scheduled for comments on a hazardous waste permit renewal requested by an Anadarko Petroleum Co. subsidiary for the former Champlin refinery.

The meeting will be 6:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Public Libary of Enid and Garfield County. Written comments should be submitted to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality by March 5.

Anadarko now owns the land where the Champlin refinery sits. The refinery was shut down in 1984 after about eight decades of operation. Its permit covers about 362 acres near the intersection of 30th and Willow and would expire in 10 years.

The permit outlines post-closure care of the facility and treatment of groundwater for benzene

“DEQ has confirmed that all residents in the area are connected to Enid’s public water supply. Investigations overseen by the DEQ several years ago did not show any problems with vapor intrusion into residences or other buildings,” DEQ spokeswoman Erin Hatfield said. “These studies indicate that the public is not endangered by this contamination, from either water consumption or vapor inhalation.”

Because of the extent of contamination, remediation efforts are expected to continue for “possibly several decades,” she said.

“The ultimate remediation goal is to draw back or treat the contaminated groundwater until all contamination is back within the site boundaries. Deed restrictions will be placed on the land under the refinery, restricting land use, and warning against the use of groundwater so that future owners of the property can be aware of its previous use,” Hatfield said.

Anadarko spokeswoman Christina Ramirez said it’s not possible to speculate on how long remediation ultimately could take.

Environmental regulations have strengthened over the years since the refinery shut down. DEQ noted that during its operation, there were various spills and leaks from tanks, piping and other equipment. Standards at that time did not require such an extensive cleanup of those spills.

“As a result, there was widespread contamination of both the soil and groundwater beneath the refinery by petroleum products.  Some of the contaminated groundwater has gone outside of the site boundaries on the north and south sides,” Hatfield said. “Once the refinery was closed, laws and rules in effect at that time — which continue today — required that the site be cleaned up to prevent any substantial risk of harm to either people or the environment.”

People with questions or comments about the remediation can attend the public meeting. Written comments concerning the permit renewal application can be mailed to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, attention Saba Tahmassebi, at P.O. Box 1677, Oklahoma City, OK 73101. They also can be emailed to saba.tahmass ebi@deq.ok.gov.

The 294-page permit request can be viewed online at the Oklahoma DEQ website.

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